Best Canon "walk around lens"

Discussion in 'Canon FD' started by patrick_mont, Dec 28, 2009.

  1. Hi Guys- I have just re-entered the FD system after straying because I was not crazy about most of the cameras but have grown to like them. I have a couple of AE-1 P and AT-1 and an FTb. I was wondering what is a pretty high quality general (zoom not prime) lens. I was looking at the 35-105 F/3.5. Is this a high quality lens or am I better off going with prime lenses? Thanks, Patrick
  2. I bought an nFD 35-105/3.5 several years ago as my first fd zoom (just had primes prior to that) and what a piece of disappointment! I mostly chose it at the time because I also have (a use a lot) Pentax A 35-105/3.5 which is a spectacular lens. Of course I may just have a bad copy of Canon's product, but overall it's plasticy construction, fairy useless "macro" feature and a 5-blade diaphragmme are not particularly inspiring, it also flares a lot. So I put it away in its box and went pack to primes.
  3. The nFD 35-105mm f/3.5 is a fine lens. Very sharp! It has a couple of issue I don't like such as a bit more distortion at the wide end than I like or the less-than-wonderful close-up function. The lens has a big front element and needs a hood. The FD hood is rather hard to find and expensive when you do. However, this mutha is SHARP! I generally prefer the Vivitar Series 1 28-90mm f/2.8 as a walk around lens, but since I picked up the Canon zoom, I've warmed up to it more. It's hard to complain when super crisp, contrasty and colorful negs show up from the lab. At today's prices there is really little reason not to grab one to knock around with. I've got mine on an old F-1 that lives in my truck full time. The nFD 80-200mm f/4 L zoom is another amazing optic and I can recommend it without reservation.
  4. Well maybe I will go for it and throw on a hood.
  5. The 35-105 F3.5 is probably the best general purpose FD lens. Image quality is very high, especially by the time you get to F5.6. There is a little distortion at the wide end and the lens is large and heavy. That said the performance is near L standard and makes a great walk around lens. The Macro feature is pretty useless (the Tamron AD-2 35-70 is a much better lens if you want to shoot macro) and the Bokah is not as good as several of the primes. I disagree with Zenit on the constuction as my 1984 model is well constructed and has survived a lot.
  6. My FD 35-105/3.5 is a great lens, and has excellent color rendition. It is on the heavy end for a walk-around lens, though.
  7. My definition of "walk around" photographic equipment has changed as I have aged. Spending an entire day with a heavy camera bag hanging on my shoulder makes me miserable...and therefore unable to concentrate on photography. Nowadays I would choose the AE-1p with the FD 35-70 f3.5/4.5 lens and a Canon speedlight 011A.
    I'm sure many will scoff at the FD 35-70 lens (yes, I know it has plastic elements). I've also toted my FD 35-105 f/3.5 for a full day until it felt like an albatross around my neck. Finally, the 011A isn't going to illuminate a subject 40 ft away but it's smaller that a pack of smokes.
    I spent an entire day with the 35-70 lens a few months ago and never once said I wished I had the 35-105 lens. Results were quite good above f5.6. The big lens weighs 1lb 7oz compared to the 35-70 at 6oz. Putting the 35-70 lens AND the 011A flash onto the AE-1p you have a neat little package weighing a hair under 2 lbs. That's something I can live with for an 8-hour stretch.
    p.s. I have a digital postal meter accurate to 1/10 I'm not just guessing at these numbers.
  8. Bob you might want to try the Tamron 35-70 F3.5 if you can find one. In my opinion it is a better lens than the Canon 35-70 but also compact and fairly light.
  9. These last two years I've tended to avoid zooms, but if I do bring along a short zoom for my FD bodies then it's a Tamron Adaptall-2, either the 35-80 f/2.8-3.8 or 35-70 f/3.5. Both miss out on the long end of focal range compared to the FD 35-105 f/3.5, but they work better for my interests because they can get substantially closer (resp 0.4x and 0.35x max magnification) and are a lot more compact plus less weight to carry around.
  10. SCL


    Although I've a lot to choose from in the collection I've acquired in the last 4 years, I've grown really attached to the nFD 50/3.5 macro as a walk around lens...light, sharp & contrasty, and able to capture the normal as well as minute. For nature landscape stuff I really like the 28/2.0.
  11. awahlster

    awahlster Moderator

    The three I can recomend:
    Canon 28-85mm f4.0 nFD Packed one around Europe shooting slides LOVED it 72mm filter
    Canon 35-105mm f3.5 nFD An outstanding lens in this range 72mm filter
    Tokina SD 28-70mm f3.5/4.5 52mm filter, about the size of a 100mm f2.8 nFD, amazing color and nice and sharp. CHEAP
  12. I have the 35-105 lens, and have nothing bad to say about it, other than it is a long and somewhat awkward lens to use. As I carry an old F1, the combined weight it and the zoom can be somewhat tiring.
    As a good all-around lens, I like the FD 35/2 concave. It's not particularly small or light, but it is much smaller and lighter than any of the short/medium zoom lenses.
  13. I've had good results with the Vivitar 35-105mm/3.2-4 one-touch zoom lens for FD. It was made by Kobori (serial number begins with 77) and is light and sharp and has a close-focus, so-called "macro", capability at the 105mm focal length.
    At first, I was apprehensive that its rather short turn from closest distance to infinity would make accurate focusing difficult, but, for me anyway, it focuses easily.
    The lens body shows some Vivitar US Patent numbers.
    Generally I use it with my Canon AV-1 camera. The aperture priority automation adjusts for the change of aperture as the lens is zoomed.
  14. I have a 35-105mm f/3.5 in my A1/T90 kit, it's a very good lens but its results are easily outshone by the 50mm 1.4 SSC. I'm not getting rid of it though, nor do I regret getting it, it's just not my go to lens whereas the SSC is.
  15. Tamron AD2 35-70 f3.5 - as others have mentioned. But a Tokina AT-X 28-70 f3.5-4.5 has more range and better resolution (other Tokinas, like the SZ-X model, in this range are generally good).
    What works for me as a walk-around lens (in Europe) may be less appopriate in other places and for other photographers. I find 28mm is limiting in modern 'European' cities, but 24-xx lenses are both rare and (often) of less-than-ideal quality. The only solution for me is to a) stick with two primes (say, 24mm f2.8 & 50mm) or, b) use both a 24mm and a good 28-80mm zoom - this latter approach works well for me. Also, having one lens that's faster than f3.5/4.5 is sometimes crucially more important than having a wide-range zoom.
  16. I find that my walk around lens varies depending on the subject and how much weight I want to carry. If I'm walking around a city alone, I tend to carry the FD 80-200mm L. If I'm with friends or family I tend to carry a wide angle lens to get greater depth of field and to easily take photos that show the context of where the photo was taken. I've also found that I'm better off most of the time with just one lens rather than bothering with juggling a bag of lenses and the camera around my neck.
  17. I dont like zooms, my best buddy on the F1 is a 85mmf1.8. My eyes are old, the extra light is easy to use, and it gives sharp photos. If I am not using that lens usually a 28mm is on the camera, great depth of field. I usually travel with these two lens if Im using 35mm.
    With Hasselblad the superwide is my best buddy...... or a elm with a 150mm on it.
    I know these are two choices, but no zooms for me, im just too old and set in my ways, I find zooms make me lazy. I do better when I have to work a little, framing etc. I also rarely use a incamera light meter.
    And have no use for digital.......maybe one day. Im not sure if they will catch on yet? Film took 100 years to prove itself.
  18. Bob,
    I thought I'd try the Vivitar 35-105/3.2-4 so I bought one from an eBay seller in Minolta mount for $6.45 (+ shipping). When I have a chance I'll compare it to the 35-105/3.5 Canon New FD.
  19. For inside use, either the 35mm F2 or the 28-85mm F4 are my preferred lenses. The 50 or 55mm F1.4 or 1.2 are also fine if it's dark outside. The 35-105 F3.5's hood is not as deep as the one for the 28-85mm. If it's real tight, the 20-35mm F3.5L is very handy.
    Outdoors, i like the 80-200mm F4 twin ring with the built in hood. It will focus to 1 meter with no silly macro buttons and it's very sharp. Plus the front of the lens never rotates, making a polarizer easier to use.
  20. I've been using an FD 35-105mm f/3.5-4.5 zoom on my EF lately. I always thought that this was the 35-105 FDn as I can't find one older than the 72mm 35-105 f/3.5, and this one is more recent and costs significantly more than the 72mm version at KEH. Not that that means anything, but at any rate it's a great lens. The construction is mostly plastic which means lightweight, but the glass is superb, really outstanding. I find myself using this in place of most of my primes because it's convenient and not at all heavy. Back in the summer when I posted my pictures of Chicago at Millennium Park as well as the Chicago skyline, those were all taken with this lens. Definitely worth considering.
  21. Here are a few shots with the 35-105mm f/3.5-4.5 mounted on my F-1...
    Shot #1--Millennium Park in Chicago
  22. Shot #2--"The Bean" sculpture at Millennium Park
  23. Shot #3
  24. Andy....thanks for posting those 35-105mm f3.5-4.5 FDn shots. They do look sharp. I had heard that this lens was not as good as the 35-105 f3.5 zoom, so it´s nice to hear a favourable review! The lighter weight and smaller diameter would be a benefit...does it have the same not-so-good "macro" capabilities as the fixed f3.5 or can it get a bit closer perhaps? Is the f3-5-4.5 zoom the one with the plastic aspherical element?
  25. Actually Andy, I think that the fixed 3.5 has significantly better macro capabilities and is probably a sturdier lens with its metal construction, but the lesser weight of the 3.5-4.5 is nicer over a long period of time. I haven't read that it has a plastic element but it does have a molded glass aspherical element. Does "molded glass" equal plastic? Perhaps it does, I don't know for sure. At any rate, the older 72mm lens is certainly a great lens and has a sturdier build quality, but the 3.5-4.5 is very lightweight and compact and, from my experience with two copies, has excellent performance.
  26. To go a little off topic, the Vivitar 35-105/3.2-4-4 arrived today. While I haven't tested it yet I did notice some differences between this lens and the 35-105/3.5 New FD. As Bob mentioned, focusing from 5.5 feet to infinity is a very short turn, less than an inch. Even in the close-up mode it doesn't get as close as the 35-105/3.5. The close-up mode can only be engaged at the 105 seting but at that setting focusing is continuous from infinity to about 20 inches. This is much better for portraits. The 35-105 leaves you stuck with nothing at 105 between 5 feet and its close-up mode. What about the 35-105/3.5-3.4 New FD? Now I'd like to find one of those too.
  27. Andy (Collins),
    You really should quit teasing us with such pornographic images. We've all seen your new EF, now put that thing away before someone gets hurt. :)
    Seriously though, the 35-105 f/3.5 2 touch zoom is the only FD zoom that I own and I really wonder sometimes why I even have all of these primes that just sit around collecting dust. Mounted on the EF, it is just the perfect size and weight for a carry weapon, I mean lens.
  28. Oh, c'mon Tom...I love flashing my EF at unsuspecting eyes!
  29. I had an AE-1 P for about 2 years and although I don't know much about the FD lenses, I did have the FD 28-85mm zoom and loved it. It is a beautiful lens and is hard to come by. Check ebay periodically, I had to look for about a year before I finally found one. It cost me almost $200 about 4 years ago and at the time I thought that was insanely expensive, but now that I have a couple of the "cheaper" L lenses I realize it wasn't that much.
  30. Jeff wrote "The 35-105 leaves you stuck with nothing at 105 between 5 feet and its close-up mode."
    Which lens does this refer to? At 105mm, the Vivitar 35-105mm/3.2-4 does focus continuously down to its minimum distance.
  31. What I meant to say was that with the 35-105/3.5 New FD you are stuck at 5 feet at the 105 setting. When you turn the zooming ring toward the 35mm setting and then cross into the close focusing range you are between about 12 and 16 inches from the focal plane mark. Tamron used to advertise their CF lenses which allowed continuous focusing from infinity to the closest focusing distance. Some of their later manual focus lenses dropped this feature. With the Vivitar 35-105/3.2-4 you can go from infinity to about 20 inches at the 105 setting. I don't need to be as close as 20 inches for a portrait but at least getting as close as 4 feet is helpful. When I am shooting with Minoltas my favorite portrait lens is the 100/2.5 MC Rokkor. This lens gets down to 4 feet. For adults that's fine. For a child it would be nice to be able to get a little closer. The Vivitar 70-150/3.8 (22XXX...) two touch zoom only gets down to 5 feet at the long end but at 150 that's close enough.
  32. Kiron 28-105/3.2-4.5. Bought it the same day I bought my first Canon (A-1) back in '84. Still use it more than any other for walking around. Relatively heavy but nicely sharp. Don't see Kiron mentioned often here but I like mine.
  33. I had a Kiron 35-135 that I used on an F-1N some years ago. It was a really nice lens, one I wish I hadn't sold.
  34. And the Kiron 105/2.8 Macro is of course legendary, and fairly often mentioned in this forum. But it's obviously not a zoom.
    My three zoom FD walkabout kit is the 20-35/3.5 L, 35-105/3.5, and 80-200/4 L. If I want to go with just one lens, it's the middle one. I have found this set of zooms to be so useful outdoors that I've given it an EOS "reincarnation" with the EF 17-40/4 L, 24-105/4 IS L, and 70-200/4 IS L. Again, for walking about with just one lens, it's the middle one.
  35. I had heard that this lens was not as good as the 35-105 f3.5 zoom​
    Yeah thats the chatter you hear but I distinctly remember, many years ago when this was a hotter topic, there was a published comparison tests with MTF charts and actual images between the two. Of course I can't find it now but the upshot was the were both very similar in resolution and distortion metrics. Practically identical if I remember correctly. The older fixed aperture lens had the edge with speed and a narrower DOF at the long end but at a price of weight with a slightly greater possiblity of flare due to the large front element.
  36. I think what you use depends on what you are trying to get on a given day. My personal FD 'walk around' kit therefore varies. For a general trip i'd take a 20-35/3.5L, 28-85/4. I'm more likely to be in a city than the country so the 20-35 field of view is good for buildings (in spite of some distortion) and the 28-85 is great for general shots and candids.
  37. I have the FD 28-85 f4 and FD 35-105 3.5 that are both excellent optics, but to be honest the one I use the most is the much underrated FD 35-70 f3.5-4.5 it's lighter than my 50mm 1.4 and capable of excellent results , much better than most people imagine.
  38. Ben, I have a first generation FD 35-70/2.8-3.5 SSC. It's IQ is excellent, but it's big and heavy, weighing in at 575g (as opposed to a mere 200g for your later 35-70).
  39. Mark Pierlot, many people dismiss the FD 35-70 f3.5-4.5 optic as crap because of the lightweight plastic construction of the barrel, the majority of them have never actually used one of them, the lens has a three group zooming system, and a macro facility over the whole zooming range, and is capable of excellent results, although I must admit I only bought mine because it was attached to a T90 and the shop where I bought it wouldn't split them, when I actually used it to my surprise the results were first class, I find it the perfect compact, lightweight, do-everything ,walk around lens.
  40. Zoom or prime? My answer is "yes" because walk-arounds are ideally like potato chips, nobody should have just one. What I'm carrying greatly influences the where and when, that's a big part of the fun. Bring something different, see what happens, try it more than once...nobody's inspired everyday...
  41. Personally, I like my Vivtar Series 1 35-85 f/2.8 as my all around "walk around" lens.
    It sports good macro/close up capabilities and the f/2.8 runs throughout the range.
    I have used this lens since new in the mid-70's, so the familiarity factor plays big for me.
    A little heavy, but nicely balances on the A-1 with the MA motor drive. On the T90, the
    lens hood does stray below the bottom plane of the camera. As a kit, I'll carry the
    35-85 f/2.8, the original 70-210 f/3.5 Vivtar Series 1, and a Canon 50mm f/1.2L... with
    whatever camera suits the day/trip/event.
  42. I would like to buy the 35-105 zoom so I let myself correct one of the photos just to see how it look little more contrasty, I hope Andy has nothing against.

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